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Prior IP (formerly known as SparkIP) was a patent search site that organized patent documents into categories called clusters, which were organized ahead of time based on citation analysis. A granted patent or patent application can be in more than one cluster, and over 50,000 clusters exist in the Prior IP network. Visualizations related to clusters available on Prior IP include:
- Cluster map - A dynamically created visual representation of related clusters, used to visually represent search results.
- Cluster landscape - A dynamic set of cluster maps ranked by relevance to the search (4 to a page).
- Cluster Neighborhood - View clusters in "browse mode" through "Visually Browse Related IP" option. Selecting this option will take you to the Cluster Neighborhood map, which displays related clusters nearby the relevant cluster.
As of November 2012, this tool no longer appears to be available.
Users can access from the homepage either a simple search or advanced search form. The simple search form is a single search field for keyword searching, while the advanced search form allows users to select fields (title, abstract, inventor, assignee, etc.) from a drop down menu and combine search terms using Boolean operators. Users can select "exact phrase match" or "fuzzy/near match" searching in the advanced search form. The advanced search form also allows users to view search results for:
- Patent Grants
- Patent Applications
- Available Technologies (coming soon)
- Journal Articles (coming soon)
Users can view search results in two formats:
- Column format, with document numbers, titles, and relevance scores listed, 25 to a page.
- Cluster landscape format (select "Visualize IP Search Results").
Users can select a particular cluster map from the cluster landscape page to view an enlarged version of the map and select specific clusters. When a user mouses over a a particular cluster in a cluster map, they have the options to "Filter out results not in this Cluster" or "Popup details for this cluster." The "details" option brings up a window that displays:
- Top terms, number of patents, number of applications, number of available technologies, and number of journal articles
- A visualization of the patent timeline
- Top assignees
- Top inventor
- Top patents (users can select to view all cluster patents)
- Top applications (users can select to view all cluster applications)
Users can also select the brown tabs in the top menu of the cluster landscape view (Search Cluster Landscape, Patents, Applications, Available Technologies, Journal Articles) to filter the patents or applications in a cluster landscape (or neighborhood map) by assignee, title, date range (for granted patents), or cluster.
When a user selects a specific patent/application title in a cluster, they can view the bibliographic information and abstract. A "View Patent/Application Details" option will take the user to the full record view for that patent document. The document record contains:
- Bibliographic data and abstract
- Thumbnail first page view
- Family patents
- Links to view the document at the patenting authority's website (like Espacenet or USPTO website)
- Links to PriorIP Cluster information and option to "Visually browse related IP" (in Cluster neighborhood map)
- Citations (backward) and references (forward)
- Details (specification)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "About PriorIP." Prior IP website, http://www.prior-ip.com/about-us (link no longer available). Accessed August 23, 2011.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "PriorIP Frequently Asked Questions." Prior IP website, http://www.prior-ip.com/frequently-asked-questions (link no longer available). Accessed August 23, 2011.